I recently read an SEO say that web design and optimization are mutually incompatible skill sets, which supported the notion that business owners are able to perform their own search engine optimization. I disagree.(Such writers never seem to mention the importance of good writing, which should always be part of a well-designed, well SEO’d web site.)

Web designers, as all designers should, create a product that’s inviting to its target audience. Web designers also create a product that helps the target audience find what they came to the web site looking for. Usability is everything.

Search engine optimization is essential to driving traffic to the web site (and other things), and web site design is critical to keeping traffic there. So SEO and design, even though they may ultimately be performed by two people, should work in close consort with each other. These two people should also work closely with the web writer.

As far as a business owner doing his or her SEO — I do agree that some tasks can be taught. However, what I’ve witnessed when small business owners take on their own SEO (or their own writing or design — although we’ll leave those discussions apart) is that the SEO is not done very well.

It’s difficult for that person to keep up with everything in the SEO field, and so may be applying standards that were true two or three years ago, perhaps sabotaging the good things done. I’m not saying a layperson performing SEO successfully is impossible

I spoke with a small business owner the other day who thought that he should be misspelling his own business’s name on his web page occasionally to draw in people who commonly misspell it. And this is a smart guy.

Another small business person thought she should be pointing a misspelled version of his URL toward her¬†actual URL, “just in case.” Both are assumptions that go back practically to the beginning of SEO time … 2005 or so. Neither is applicable today.

So, can small businesses do their own SEO?

Yes and no.

Keeping up with Google takes time and persistence. Most of us SEOers spend hours each week reading our favorite online experts. We bow at their feet, quite honestly. Not literally, but most of us we would if we could.

But there is no “final” word on what works and doesn’t as far as search engine optimization goes. The knowledge we have changes practically every day.

If there’s ever a Ph.D. in search engine optimization, it will be because someone has figured out how to make SEO diploma earners¬†adaptive and flexible. In addition to precise and honest.

We’ve only just begun this SEO thing. Ten years from now, what will the web and its searchability hold?

Can small businesses do their own SEO?

by susan time to read: 2 min

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